A Day in the Life: Field Communications Director

How humanitarian work happens at our home office.

Keith Ellis Not all humanitarian work happens in the field. We often forget that in order for humanitarian organizations to make change happen, they have to be run like a business; there’s paperwork and finances and people to keep track of. For every program, initiative, and expedition launched to help end extreme poverty, there is someone in an office making sure that it all runs smoothly.

We’re talking about the leadership and administration behind our programs—the people who are making sure humanitarian work happens. At CHOICE Humanitarian, we keep our programs running smoothly by having people in our home office keeping an eye on our programs from above—and they’re humanitarian workers too!

From Home Base to the World

Keith Ellis is our Field Communications Director at CHOICE Humanitarian. He works from our home office in West Jordan, Utah, but he communicates daily with all of our In-Country Directors as well as staff employees all across the world. CHOICE Humanitarian has various focus areas that help villages overcome extreme poverty, and Keith works to make sure those objectives are being met. Without his administration efforts at our home office, a lot of our humanitarian work would never happen.

“Being in a non-profit, you don’t just have one duty,” Keith says. “You have multiple unique assignments. Sometimes it’s fighting a fire here, sometimes there. I’m constantly fielding requests and prioritizing multiple tasks.” And remember that a lot of this happens despite language barriers and technology limitations. It’s a lot to ask, and he never hesitates.

Keith acts as the support for our various teams across seven countries. Each of our field teams have ten to twenty staff each. Overseeing these teams means managing employee contracts and field communications, tracking and evaluating the effectiveness of their progress, and ensuring that all CHOICE programs are running smoothly.

“I know each of the Directors personally and lot of their staff. Their passion is real and their dedication and commitment to CHOICE is what makes me want to support them in any way that I can.  Sometimes it means working after hours and on weekends, but I value this work, I believe in the CHOICE development model, and I’d like to think that my small contribution is having an impact.” Keith says.

Global Perspective

Knowing what’s going in the field gives Keith a perspective on humanitarian work that most of us never have. He has worked at CHOICE Humanitarian for over fifteen years, so he has been able to see many of our initiatives from the very beginning.

“It makes an impact to work on these projects. It’s just one reason that I have been here for so long. We’re supporting an incredible cause. I see firsthand how our projects are impacting the villagers. I’m inspired when I see people exiting extreme poverty.”

Being in the administration allows him to use data to analyze how the various initiatives across the world are doing. With this data, he can see exactly what kind of impact the programs are having on the communities we are helping. He also understands just how critical donations are for making our programs successful, and he keeps our finances transparent so donors can see what we’re doing with their money.

Our donors are members of the Village program. Donation can be any size (even just $.35 a day), and every donation goes toward supporting our initiatives across seven countries around the world. But our villagers don’t just donate—they also volunteer to join us on expeditions to be where the change happens.

Without our administration, we wouldn’t be able to provide poverty solutions to villagers facing extreme poverty. And without our donors, our programs wouldn’t ever happen. It’s all part of supporting each other as a community here at CHOICE Humanitarian to make change happen around the world.


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